Voting for the first time? Here’s a step-by-step guide on what you need to know on the day of voting



Published May 23, 2024


More than 27 million people are registered to vote in the upcoming national and provincial elections, so says the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC).

The IEC stated that the number of registered voters who are between the ages of 18-19 is 550,000, while those who are between the ages of 20-29 are 4 million.

Being a first-time voter is a noteworthy achievement because voting is a fundamental right and responsibility in a democracy. This is the time when the people's voice can make a difference in the future and the power of democracy becomes apparent. First-time voters have a unique chance to exercise this right and have their voices heard on May 29 during the elections.

As a first-time registered voter, your involvement is crucial. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you navigate your first voting experience:

Confirm your registration

Ensure that you are registered. To confirm this, first-time voters can go to the electoral officer or can visit the Election Commission's website to check their eligibility. If you are not registered, you cannot vote.

Prepare identification

Ensure you have a green, bar-coded, South African ID book/card or a temporary identification certificate. These documents are essential for voter registration and voting.

Know your voting station

Find out where your designated voting place is. To check which station you are registered at, click here and enter your Identification Number (ID).

Verification process

You will need to present your ID which will be scanned when you present it at the voting station entrance. A slip verifying your voter registration and the line you must wait in would then be given to you. You will be given directions when you arrive at the station.

Understand the ballot

There will be three ballots provided to you. The blue ballot paper is for the National Assembly; the orange ballot paper is the regional ballot (choose who represents your province on a national level) and the pink ballot paper is the provincial ballot (choose the party that governs your province).

Thumb inked

Following the voting officer's confirmation that you are a registered voter, possess the proper identification; and haven't cast your ballot yet, your name is removed from the voter’s roll, your ID will be stamped on the second page, and your thumbnail is inked.

The voting officer will hand you the official ballots, stamping the back of each one (one for each election).


Proceed to an empty voting booth, mark the ballots, placing just one X on each of them, fold them so that your selection is concealed, and deposit the ballots in the ballot box.

The voting window is scheduled to run from 7 am to 9pm. Try to get there early in the day to avoid long queues.

IOL Elections